Slightly Spicy Chicken (crockpot)

Crockpot spicy chicken
slightly spicy chicken for the crockpot or slow cookerMakes about 8-10 servings

2 onions, skinned and chopped
about 1.8kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs (US: 3 pounds)
400g chopped tomatoesor 400g can (US: 14 ounces)
6-8 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
300g mushrooms, chopped (US: 3/4 pound)
100g dried apricots, quartered (US: 1/4 pound)

Put the chopped onions at the bottom of the crockpot, and place the chicken thighs on top (if frozen they must be thawed first). Add the tomatoes, then the garlic and spices. Stir slightly to mix, and ensure the chicken is coated. If you like plenty of sauce, you can add more tomatoes, or some water, or leftover wine, but more juices are made during the cooking.

Switch the crockpot on HIGH; cook for about two hours, then remove the lid, and stir in the mushrooms and apricots. Turn the chicken pieces around in the sauce to make sure everything is mixed, and replace the lid. Turn to LOW, and cook for another 6-8 hours. If you're in a hurry, you can cook for less time on MEDIUM, but long low cooking leaves the chicken perfectly shredded and tender.

Serve with rice, pittas or potatoes, salad or vegetables, and top with yogurt and/or raisins if desired.

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When we first bought our slow-cooker, I was searching for crockpot curry recipes, and came across the excellent 'Year of Slow Cooking' blog, which has a recipe called 'Crockpot Indian Chicken recipe'. I wanted to make double their quantities immediately, since my slow-cooker is a large one, and I didn't like the idea of using chicken that was still frozen. Nor did I want yogurt as part of the recipe, since one of my sons is dairy-free, and I thought it would freeze better without. Oh, and I always put in way more garlic than any recipe says.

So that was my first adaptation. Then it seemed rather lacking in texture, so I added the apricots; since we had some mushrooms in the fridge, I added those too. I liked it a lot better that way. I adjusted the spices to suit our tastes, and then put in some turmeric too, since it's apparently one of the best spices around, and cures all kinds of health problems. And although the first time I used two cans of tomatoes, doubling the original, it made so much juice that I just used one. Actually I don't use canned tomatoes any more; I skin and chop inexpensive fresh ones and freeze them in 400g size portions to use instead, but the effect is much the same.

And since the spiciness is actually very mild - you could add more ginger and cayenne to make it hotter if you wanted - it's become known in our family as 'slightly spicy chicken'.